The most basic human aspiration, to live a long and healthy life, has fallen victim to crony capitalism and political bickering.
Both political parties are attacking the problem from the wrong end – health insurance. Premiums are a direct function of the amounts paid for hospitals, labs, physicians and drugs. The only way to materially reduce insurance premiums and healthcare as a percentage of GDP is to address these underlying healthcare costs.
Ask the price of any healthcare service and you will always receive the same answer: “What insurance do you have?” Medical bills are determined by how much can be extracted from each patient on a case by case basis. Because billing rates are not set, the industry is able to prey on patients at their most vulnerable. If you are out of network or uninsured, you pay the highest rates. It is a predatory system.
A simple blood test for cholesterol can range from $10 to $400 or more at the same lab. Hospitalization for chest pain can result in a bill from the same hospital for the same services ranging anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000 or more.
In 2009, President Obama presented his namesake plan to a joint session of Congress and identified the amount spent on underlying health costs as the reason for skyrocketing insurance premiums, stating: “We spend one and a half times more per person on health care than any other country. . . This is one of the reasons that insurance premiums have gone up three times faster than wages.”
Obamacare was stillborn because it allowed the predatory pricing system to continue. This “system” shields hospitals, physicians and labs from price competition. It is not a coincidence that the only product or service permitted to be sold in the U.S.A. without legitimate pricing, is the one that has imposed tremendous financial hardship, including causing the majority of personal bankruptcies.
This author recently delivered a Petition to End Predatory Healthcare Pricing to Trump Tower with over 100,000 signatures. Congress need only mandate that all hospitals, physicians and labs publish legitimate prices – like all other businesses. They can continue to set their own rates, but billing a different amount to each patient for the exact same service must be prohibited.
The Medicare Advisory Commission noted that hospitals “have excess inpatient capacity in most markets.” Hospital occupancy rates average approximately 60%. Technological advances have dramatically shortened inpatient stays. If legitimate pricing existed excess capacity would produce plunging prices – like it does in every free market. Efficient hospitals would thrive and inefficient hospitals would close their doors or be acquired by lower cost operators.
Legitimate prices mean networks would be obsolete, along with the administrative burdens, tremendous costs, and limitations on patient choice they impose. Every citizen would be empowered to search any medical procedure online and see pricing for all providers within X miles. It should be as easy and familiar as checking the price of any other goods or services.
In an emergency, when shopping isn’t possible, legitimate pricing means you will be billed a competitive, market based price. If your vehicle runs out of gas and you walk to the nearest service station they can’t gouge you for $350 a gallon because prices are free-market based and competitive. But in our present predatory health system, especially if you are uninsured or out of network, the hospital bill may be as extreme as a $350 gallon of gas – think $20 for an aspirin.
The individuals who signed the Petition to End Predatory Healthcare Pricing are a cross section of the Nation – Trump, Clinton, Obamacare, free market and single payer devotees alike – from every State in the union. They are suffering, angry and feel helpless; disappointed by decades of political promises that failed to loosen a tightening medical bill noose.
No congressperson can oppose legitimate pricing or defend our predatory system. The desire for legitimate healthcare pricing is the one – perhaps only – unifying American issue.
Anybody with half a brain knew that this is basically how this disgusting system works, and naturally, as usual, those who can afford it least pay the most.
However, the Jew is right. Whatever you are, Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, Marxist, or National Socialist, the need for healthcare reform is something we can all agree on. The only thing we can't agree on is exactly how to accomplish this.
The Democrats came up with Obamacare, and we all love that, right?
Marxists want socialized medicine like they have in Canada and Europe. I suppose that's better than nothing. When you need medical help you don't pay anything, but the taxes are outrageous and if you need to see a specialist you might have to wait years (for a non-life threatening condition) before you can get it taken care of.
National Socialists believe in a pay-as-you-go system like in NS Germany. What's great about this system is that although taxes supported it, if you never used it, like you never went to the doctors or the dentist even once during the year you paid no medical taxes.
Taxation was based on a combination of what you could afford and how much you used the system every year. After all, why should you pay for something you're not using? I mean you wouldn't pay for cable if you never watch TV, so why should you pay medical taxes if you never go to the doctor's?
If you're wondering just how the taxes worked, you paid every year just like with regular income tax. If you didn't go to the doctor's, you got a tax refund. If you did, your refund was reduced based on how many times you used the system and what your income level was.
Over all I prefer the pay-as-you-go system. This way, I know that if I don't get sick, I don't have to pay anything and if I do, I will be charged a fair and reasonable rate and the medical vultures won't be there to bleed my wallet dry while I'm standing there bleeding my body dry while waiting for them to help me.
Trump says he will repeal Obamacare and replace it with Trumpcare. Let's hope it will at least be an improvement. I don't know. Even though I hate it, the title "Obamacare" sounds catchier than "Trumpcare".